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Author Topic: Public Relations  (Read 13417 times)
goatpig
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May 19, 2011, 08:09:35 PM
 #41

@goatpig: that's not at all what i'm saying. i don't care much about the original distribution, and i'm agnostic as to whether the public will either. as i said, it's just an incidental observation of a potential benefit to a restart.

And I think that potential affluence of newcomers will be mitigated by the effective departure of early adopters who would lose anywhere between thousands to millions of dollars in the process.

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Mike Hearn
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May 19, 2011, 08:09:54 PM
 #42

I understand unks argument, but given that currencies need a lot of trust in their stability I think resetting it for PR purposes would probably be counterproductive.

It's still early on in the systems lifetime and a reset now would just lead to another generation of early adopters being resented, if it were to take off. Of course if BTC pops and never again goes beyond $1 then early adopters won't be envied so much Wink

There'll probably be a series of bubbles over time. I don't think there's much that can be done about it beyond moderating expectations, ensuring Bitcoin is not marketed by enthusiastic users as guaranteed to increase in value (it's not), and promoting real trade in goods and services.

Gavins moderate and reasonable approach to PR is exactly what's needed right now.
ribuck
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May 19, 2011, 08:25:57 PM
 #43

... potential benefit to a restart.

And I think that potential affluence of newcomers will be mitigated by the effective departure of early adopters who would lose anywhere between thousands to millions of dollars in the process.

It's not even about the money. For me, the appeal of Bitcoin is that it is based on sound principles. As others have pointed out, newcomers are free to start up their own block chain if it suits their needs. Those who like the idea of restarts might find happiness if they mine the testnet.
davout
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May 19, 2011, 08:32:10 PM
 #44

It's not even about the money. For me, the appeal of Bitcoin is that it is based on sound principles. As others have pointed out, newcomers are free to start up their own block chain if it suits their needs. Those who like the idea of restarts might find happiness if they mine the testnet.
Not sure about that, testnet can be reset.

cloud9
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May 19, 2011, 08:35:36 PM
 #45

1 year / 2 years from now on the exponential BTC price graph today will look like the start with no visible difference between today's price and last years price.  As with anything growing on an exponential scale (long term DOW, Gold, Facebook, Google, etc) the time factor of compounding growth is always benefitting the early adopters.  The first humans who collected gold lying around in streams must have looked upon it as fairly useless... And to this day, even if you ate it, it will not fill your hunger; and is used subsequently only as a communication of value as it is valued universally (well, almost).

Disclaimer:  Postings of Cloud9 are only individual views of opinion and/or musings and/or hypothesisses.  On a non-authoritative, peer-to-peer public forum, you do not need permission from Cloud9 to derive your own conclusions or opinions, so please do.  Calculations and assumptions to be verified.
niklas_a
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May 19, 2011, 08:50:03 PM
 #46

+1 to Gavin and to Fleembit.

The whole "destabilizing governments"-notion just puts people off. The truth is that nobody here knows how successful BitCoin will be. Instead, position it as the "open" alternative to PayPal that also is more secure and cheaper.
marcus_of_augustus
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May 19, 2011, 10:43:58 PM
 #47

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I think positioning bitcoin as "revolutionizing the financial system" is the goal-- not more radical statement I've heard (like "destabilizing governments").  Most people either like or are indifferent to their governments (I know, I know, sheeple and all that... lets not go there).  I don't think most people get the warm fuzzies when thinking about bankers and Big Corporations; bitcoin as "The People's Money" is the right way to think about it.

The accelerating interconnectedness of recent governments with their banking systems is what is creating the increasing possibility for bitcoin to destabilise governments, not bitcoin itself. It is just a technological tool, we don't do politics here.  Wink I'm undecided about how up-front you should be with the mainstream for these possibilities as the odds are unclear and changing rapidly with social behaviour, i.e. unpredictably. However, it is probably a fair assumption that the entrenched financial interests currently in power will not be so friendly in how they portray bitcoin. It is after all, a threat to the monopoly that they need on money issuance, to keep current buy-in on the fiat inflation scheme widespread.

At some point, probably if bitcoin becomes adopted wider, the fact that bitcoin establishes a mechanism for citizens to enforce their right to financial privacy is going to have to be made clear, in a PR-friendly manner or otherwise. Intrusive governments violating their citizens right to financial and communication privacy are prone to destabilisation, from past history, so I think this is the most "destablising" aspect of the technology. It would be good if Jon Matonis could weigh in somewhere about a good approach of how this news should be broken to the establishment so they don't freak out too much. It saddens me when I see some half-wit reporter in Slate denigrating bitcoin potential users as "privacy freaks".


nanotube
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May 19, 2011, 10:58:00 PM
 #48

+1 gavin
-1 unk
-1 on using the word 'paypal' in bitcoin marketing.

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JohnDoe
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May 19, 2011, 11:18:56 PM
 #49

I'm not very confident that liberals will buy the "people's money" angle. Eventually they'll figure out that welfare would become hard to provide if bitcoin took over.

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May 19, 2011, 11:31:43 PM
 #50

I'm not very confident that liberals will buy the "people's money" angle. Eventually they'll figure out that welfare would become hard to provide if bitcoin took over.


I am willing to argue that better welfare will be provided if Bitcoin took over. People naturally love to give and will have more to give if they have more money in their pockets.
JohnDoe
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May 19, 2011, 11:39:05 PM
 #51

I am willing to argue that better welfare will be provided if Bitcoin took over. People naturally love to give and will have more to give if they have more money in their pockets.

Perhaps, but then you'd have to convince them first that the free market can take care of them better than government, which is an even harder sell (bordering impossible).
jed
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May 20, 2011, 12:12:03 AM
 #52

unk: Here is my response to the "is it in a bubble?" http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=9021.msg130618#msg130618

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dissipate
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May 20, 2011, 12:58:44 AM
 #53

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I'll restate what I see as the goal of The Bitcoin Project:  To give us control over our finances by establishing a stable, secure, global, "democratic" currency.

Gavin, no matter how you try to dress things up to paint Bitcoin in a mainstream light, this goal is completely and utterly counter to the goals of political and financial elites. Bitcoin is undoubtedly inimical to governments as we know them. Could governments exist in a world where Bitcoin was the world's dominate currency? Sure, but certainly not in the form that we know them now.

A worldwide widespread adoption of Bitcoin would raze entire multi-trillion dollar institutions run by a relatively tiny minority of bankers and politicians. This fact alone makes Bitcoin patently radical for the average 'citizen'. To sum up, there is no getting around the radical nature of Bitcoin, period.

Quote
I think the real question is whether or not bitcoin will appeal to the majority of people who are happy with our current financial system.

I don't think it is a matter of them being 'happy' with the current financial system. I think it comes down to whether or not they are more happy using Bitcoin. People's personal self interest can trump their outward 'public interest', and it does all the time, even with politicians. People who claim to be environmentalists still drive cars. People who are outward complete socialists pay the minimum they legally can on their taxes and even engage in tax avoidance. The list of things people do which violate their public ideologies in day to day private decisions just goes on and on. If Bitcoin appeals to someone's private interests in a significant way, their beliefs about the current financial system won't matter at all. All they will care about at the end of the day is whether nor not Bitcoin gives them significant 'value' over state sanctioned currencies.

To me the biggest hurdles of Bitcoin are:

1. State meddling (e.g. going after Bitcoin exchanges)

2. Network effects of existing currencies (it is not clear whether Bitcoin can ever uproot state sanctioned currencies within our lifetimes).

Bitcoin wins on the technological front, hands down. And it is only a matter of time for its infrastructure to mature and blow away all legacy banking systems on just about every feature. The viability of overcoming the network effect of existing currencies is the big unknown. If it proves too strong, Bitcoin will remain a niche currency for decades at least. If it is a lot weaker than we expected, Bitcoin will flourish.
benjamindees
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May 20, 2011, 04:40:08 AM
 #54

I think "grass-roots" is a better word than "democratic".

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runcible2011
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May 20, 2011, 06:01:17 AM
 #55

A well written piece, Gavin.

And the road ahead is likely to be bumpy; there will be technical issues that need fixing, there will be legal questions, there will be price bubbles, and there will be scams. 

There will also be growing resistance as bitcoin takes hold. Just looking at the recent  Annie Lowrey piece in State Slate Magazine shows which way the wind might blow out of Babylon should this beautiful experiment begin to thrive. The condescending, minimizing tone of the article actually gives me hope in the viability of bitcoin. I recall the same tone being leveled at http when the web first began to take hold. People with an emotional attachment to centralized authority become personally threatened when elegant methods of routing around that authority are freely given away.
runcible2011
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May 20, 2011, 06:37:00 AM
 #56

I think you should read Mises Regression Theorem to understand better the argument...

Watching the rise of bitcoin is the regression theorem writ large.

Oddly, this forum is one of the first google hits for 'regression theorem'.

http://forum.bitcoin.org/?topic=583.0
wumpus
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May 20, 2011, 06:49:57 AM
 #57

I think "grass-roots" is a better word than "democratic".
+1 that's the word

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Pieter Wuille
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May 20, 2011, 09:58:35 AM
 #58

To me, Bitcoin is an interesting experiment. It may fail for various reasons, grow obsolete, or - who knows - change the world. Whatever happens, we'll learn a lot about independent online currencies and their feasibility, and I would sure love to see one succeed, even in just a niche market.

Also, in its current form, I don't see it as a competitor to paypal or other transaction processor. It's just this:

  The free currency of the internet.

(free as in freedom, obviously). The services built upon - including paypal-like infrastructures - grow every day, but there's a long way to go, and I hope I can contribute a bit to get there.

aka sipa, core dev team

Tips and donations: 1KwDYMJMS4xq3ZEWYfdBRwYG2fHwhZsipa
matt.collier
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May 20, 2011, 09:12:36 PM
 #59

I think it is important to set expectations; I still wouldn't recommend that my mom use bitcoin for anything just yet, because it is not easy enough to use securely.  And the road ahead is likely to be bumpy; there will be technical issues that need fixing, there will be legal questions, there will be price bubbles, and there will be scams.  I predict that some company using bitcoins to do something illegal will be caught and prosecuted, and that will be mis-reported as "Bitcoin is illegal."

Thank you for making this point!  I look forward to the day when all of our mothers are exchanging bitcoin.
Gabriel Beal
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May 21, 2011, 05:14:40 PM
 #60

I'd like to thank Gavin for being a clear-thinking and level-headed spokesperson for Bitcoin. If the technical lead were someone promoting anarchy or emphasizing the illegal activities made possible by Bitcoin, I think it would be attracting a lot fewer people.

If the block chain were restarted because of unequal distribution I would go back to paypal's cold arms in a second. That is a problem that will sort itself out over time naturally.

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